Project Untangled

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Project Untangled



    The UNTANGLED project is organising a conference titled Labour market effects and social impact of technological transformation, globalisation and demographic change. The event will take place in Brussels on 9 November 2022 and feature a keynote address from Anna Salomons, Professor of Employment and Inequality at Utrecht University.

    Contrary to popular fears acceleration in digitalisation of European economies is not destroying jobs or slashing the share of labour income in GDP, a recent paper from Project UNTANGLED found. In some cases, investment in new technological advances may even create new positions.

    Incentive pay schemes, which an increasing number of companies are adopting to boost performance, generally narrow the gender pay gap, though the effect is absent in companies that invest heavily in technology and intangible assets, a recent study by UNTANGLED researchers Cristiano Perugini and Fabrizio Pompei of the University of Perugia finds.

    The recent work of UNTANGLED researchers Ronald Bachmann and Myrielle Gonschor on the position of women in the German labour market has been just published in the IZA Institute of Labor Economics Discussion Paper series.

    An article co-authored by UNTANGLED researcher Piotr Lewandowski of IBS has just been published by TheWorld Bank Economic Review.

    Our third Virtual Expert Café, held just before summer holidays, was a great success, attracting more than 20 participants who discussed their research and exchanged information about new projects and conferences.

    An article by UNTANGLED researchers Roberta Capello, Camilla Lenzi and Elisa Panzera of Politecnico Di Milano has just been published by Industry and Innovation.

    An article co-authored by UNTANGLED researcher Ludivine Martin of LISER has just been published by Social Science Computer Review

    Untangled researcher, Zuzanna Kowalik of IBS presented preliminary research results showing that employees in Poland’s business services sector welcome automation, rather than fearing its effects, because it relieves the burden of tedious, repetitive tasks. The qualitative case study, carried out as part of UNTANGLED, was presented at the Social Boundaries of Work conference in Lublin, Poland on 19-20 May.

    UNTANGLED held our General Assembly on 16 May, 2022 – our first in-person consortium meeting. More than a year ago we started UNTANGLED remotely due to Covid19, and it was good to finally see each other at HIVA Leuven. We discussed our progress on researching the impact of technological innovations, globalisation & demographics on various aspects of the labour market. We also planned our next steps: papers, workshops, and conferences.

    UNTANGLED will host its third Open Virtual Expert Café on 21 June at 4 PM CET. This format creates a platform to connect people working on labour issues who are looking at digitalisation, globalisation, skills, migration and related trends.


    An article by UNTANGLED researcher Eduard Storm of the RWI–Leibniz Institute for Economic Research, “Task specialization and the Native-Foreign Wage Gap”, has been publishedin LABOUR: Review of Labour Economics and Industrial Relations, Volume 36, Issue 2.


    The work of UNTANGLED researchers Cristiano Perugini and Fabrizio Pompei of the University of Perugia was published in Economic Modelling, Volume 112, July 2022, and is available online with free access until 5 June 2022.



    An article co-authored by UNTANGLED researcher Fabrizio Pompei of the University of Perugia has been published by The British Journal of Industrial Relations.

    Developing artificial intelligence (AI) technologies and adopting innovative managerial practices can help companies that lag behind their peers improve productivity and close the gap with top performers, a recent paper by Fabrizio Pompei and Francesco Venturini of the University of Perugia shows.

    The second edition of the UNTANGLED Open Virtual Expert Café, held on 3 February, brought together 16 participants from academia, research institutes and social partners. The presentation of research results and projects was followed by a lively discussion.
    Contrary to popular fears that robots are destroying jobs, the rise in automation of European economies actually increased employment by 1-2% in 2004-2018, an Untangled research paper found.

    The second UNTANGLED Open Virtual Expert Café will take place on 3 February at 2 PM CET. This format creates a platform to connect people working on labour issues who are looking at digitalisation, globalisation, skills, migration and related trends.


    All the best to you and your loved ones, from all of us at UNTANGLED. We’re looking forward to what 2022 has in store for us!

    On 18 November UNTANGLED’s hosted its first Open Virtual Expert Café. The low-threshold virtual forum for exchange of ideas presented an opportunity to informally discuss hypotheses and ongoing projects with other experts from the fields of globalization, digitization, demographic change, work and employment. Apart from UNTANGLED, participants introduced projects in various stages of completion.

    On 16 July, Karolien Lenaerts (HIVA – KU LEUVEN) presented the objectives, methods and expected results of UNTANGLED at Horizon Europe – Focus on the Africa Initiative, demonstrating how EU and South African partners can collaborate on Horizon2020 projects in the social sciences. The event was organized by European South African Science and Technology Advancement Programme (ESASTAP), a collaborative initiative to promote, facilitate and coordinate research, development and innovation cooperation between South Africa and the EU.

    The UNTANGLED research consortium wants to stay close to policymakers, labour market actors, social partners and other stakeholders to be sure we’re asking the right questions and including in our research all groups that will be affected by changes on the job market, Ursula Holtgrewe of the ZSI said during the first UNTANGLED webinar.

    Myrielle Gonschor presented the preliminary results of research on how automation affects employment, showing that contrary to popular fears, robots are not destroying jobs in European economies. She discussed the results at the 34th Annual Conference of the European Society for Population Economics in Barcelona on 19 June, 2021.

    Are robots contributing to the rise of unemployment? So far the research findings are mixed: in some in countries robot adoption leads to layoffs, but in others there is no rise in jobless numbers. Four UNTANGLED researchers: are exploring the effects of robotisation on movements on the European job market: how robots affect rates of job loss and of finding new jobs. They are also analysing which groups of workers are particularly affected by robots.



    On 21 April, all consortium partners met to officially launch UNTANGLED, setting out on our three-year mission to explore the effects of technological transformations, globalisation and demographic change on labour markets. In normal times the official inauguration of this Horizon2020 project would have taken place at KU Leuven, but due to Covid-19 pandemic restrictions it was held online.

    2021 © UNTANGLED. All rights reserved.
    This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101004776

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